Writers Who Influenced Montaigne
One person that was not only a main influence on Michel de Montaigne’s writing, but also an important part of his life, was his closest and dearest friend Etienne La Boétie. Montaigne met La Boétie while working as a magistrate at the Bordeaux Parlement. They formed an intense friendship that lasted until La Boétie died in 1563. Years later, the bond Montaigne shared with La Boétie would inspire one of his best-known essays, “On affectionate relationships”; traditionally called ‘On friendship’. Montaigne refers to his relationship with La Boétie as a “…loving-friendship between us which as long as it pleased God we fostered so perfect and so entire that it is certain that few such can even be read about, and no trace at all of it can be found among men of today” (Montaigne 207). Both Montaigne and La Boétie were interested in classical antiquity and they both had similar writing styles, which is why I believe they were such close friends. After La Boétie died, Montaigne felt as if he was missing his other half and there wasn’t a minute that went by that he wasn’t missing La Boétie. Montaigne decided to use La Boétie as guide on how he lived his new life.
Another person that greatly influenced Montaigne is Ovid. When he was seven or eight, Montaigne read Ovid’s Metamorphoses and it changed his life. These stories, similar to our time’s fairy tales, were different than anything he had read in school. In his essays Montaigne talks about how Ovid was the first author that caught his interest compared to the books that all the other kids his age were reading. Montaigne enjoyed Ovid’s writing so much that he decided to use his style of “slipping from one topic to the next without introduction or apparent order” (Bakewell 66). Montaigne likes to skip around a lot in his essays and quite often strays off topic. For example, he starts a lot of his essays with a different topic than what the title of the essay says it...
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